Blog 26: Protector of the Realm

So, that was how we were sleeping on the night of 15th June 2011, when it happened.  I remember the date quite clearly because 15th June was my mother’s birthday.  She had died in 2008, but I always remembered her birthday, 15th June.

On that night, Bill was sleeping in his blue chair, tucked all around by blankets.  He was lit up, softly, by the glow of a small lamp that was on the floor near the wall.  I, as was now my habit, was sleeping in the little bed in the study where, if I opened my eyes, I could see Bill’s head poking out of the covers.

It was near one o’clock in the morning.  I had fallen into a light sleep when, suddenly, I heard it ….. a very distinctive creak that told me that someone was walking up the stairs.  My eyes shot open and I looked at Bill.  It would be scary if he was climbing the stairs, in the middle of the night, in near darkness, all by himself.  But, when I looked from my bed, Bill seemed to be still there, head sticking out of the covers, as before.

I got up, grabbed a cardigan, and made my way across to the panel of light switches by the front door.  I flicked them all on …. outside lights, inside lights, chandelier and down lights.  I looked upwards to the top of the stairs ….. and there they were ….. two young men, dressed from top to toe in black, looks of complete astonishment on their very white faces.

“What are you doing in my house?” I shrieked, shakily.

“We’re looking for Adam,” the spokesperson answered, quite clearly and calmly, as if “looking for Adam” in the middle of the night, in a stranger’s house was a usual occurrence that I should easily understand.  For a moment, I actually thought that he might have been speaking the truth.

“Get out!  Get out!  Get out of my house!” I yelled loudly, but not so loudly that I might wake Bill.

They stood looking at me for a moment and then began their descent.  As their shoeless feet padded down the stairs, I went to open the front door to let them out.

“We’ll go this way!” said the spokesperson, reasonably. “We’ve just got the wrong house.”

And they brushed passed me swiftly and made their way out through the door into the garage and, after that, through the side glass door to the outside.  I suppose they went that way because they needed to pick up their shoes.

That side glass door, I later found, had a faulty lock that had sprung open when the intruders had given it a sharp yank.

I decided not to call the police.  Bill, as far as I could see, had slept through the whole thing and I didn’t want to have his thinking disturbed any further by having people in uniform come into the house in the wee small hours of the morning.

The next morning, however, when Bill woke up, he went straight to the exterior glass doors of our lounge room and, though they were deadlocked, stood, tensely, holding them pushed together.  I could not prise his fingers off or encourage him to come away.

“I have to keep them out!” he cried. “I have to keep them out!”

And it was some time before loss of strength forced him to move.

Though the performance occurred for two or three ensuing mornings, thankfully, it finally ceased.

I will never know what Bill heard or saw that night, but I will forever remember that, in sickness and in health, he was always there to guard our family …. The Protector of our Realm.

  1. Kim

    Must have been so scary, Fay.

    May 16th, 2013 // Reply
    • Fay

      It was scary, Kim, and I think that that was the occasion when I came to realise that I had to do it all myself. Bill had done so much for me over the decades but that capable man was no longer there to help me. It was up to me to step up. It was scary but I had to do it.

      May 21st, 2013 // Reply
  2. Charmaine Zuidam

    Thank goodness they went quietly

    May 18th, 2013 // Reply
    • Fay

      Thank goodness, Charmaine. I cannot believe that I got out of that so easily. There had been reports in the local papers, around that time, of houses being burgled while people were in the kitchen or watching TV and those intruders had mostly come in through an open or unlocked door. Needless to say, we’re all much more obsessed with locking up these days.

      May 24th, 2013 // Reply
  3. Harold and Nola

    Guardian angels around that night, not the least one Bill himself, and that’s probably what he’s doing right at this moment. A scary moment in time for you, one wonders why it happened, perhaps only to show the lock on the door wasn’t working, for neither intruder appeared to want to menace you. Strange things happen in this life, not the least: dreaded demetia. Nola and Harold.

    May 20th, 2013 // Reply
    • Fay

      Indeed they do, Nola. Strange things happen. And, like you, I am one who subscribes to the belief that there are, indeed, guardian angels. There were several occasions over the dementia years when I thought to myself: “How did I get through that? There must be something helping me!”

      May 24th, 2013 // Reply

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